It's been 10 years since Prometheus, what can the reboot teach the Alien TV show?

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

It's now been five years since we had a new Alien movie, and precisely 10 years, to this day, since Prometheus teased a soft reboot of the franchise. Not a prequel by name, hence the Alien-less title to encourage newbies, it was where a film where director Ridley Scott, who returned to the franchise for the first time since the 1979 original, Scott set out to reclaim the series and dabble with the creature's beginnings. 

For a while, it looked like it might be Scott's final act in the series, with District 9 creator Neill Blomkamp attached to make a new sequel, but he eventually returned to the franchise and made 2017's Alien Covenant, which is where the xenomorph story was left hanging. For now.

Disney's buyout of 20th Century Fox raised the question of whether we'd seen the last of the acid-blooded beastie. The answer arrived in the shape of two new Alien properties on the horizon. A movie from Don't Breathe director Fede Alvarez recently entered development along with an upcoming TV series from Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley. 

With scripts for the latter currently being written, and the show set to drop next year on FX, where might this series go next? Taking inspiration from Scott's first rekindling of the epic saga, we dive into five ways Prometheus can inspire the Alien TV series, what it needs to take on board and how it can avoid death at the hands of a facehugger...

Make it part of the franchise, but able to stand on its own... 

Love it or hate it, Prometheus makes it easier for newcomers to jump right into the franchise. As an Alien prequel with no explicit connections to the 1979 original film, it's simple enough to enjoy the story without having to ingest an entire Wikipedia. 

The series could stand to model a little of its structure around this concept; not to get bogged down in dense mythology, but to borrow familiar visuals from the franchise. Fingers crossed this is the idea behind it, as FX chief John Landgraf has already dubbed it: "an extension and reinvention of the franchise." 


(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Bring in a fresh cast of characters...

With Prometheus, Ridley Scott jumped to a time before Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley to tell a new story. A fresh cast of characters living within the Alien world makes sense, especially as serialized episodic storytelling requires a different kind of structure. If the show were to do this, it would enable Hawley to craft an original tale instead of feeling beholden to existing characters. 

Based on what's revealed so far it sounds as though this is likely to be the case. We already know it won't include Ripley or any of her contemporaries, a decision made by locating the show "70-odd years from now" in roughly the year 2090. It's interesting to note the approximate time frame Landgraf suggests, as it is right around the time Prometheus takes place in 2089-2093. 

This hints at the fact we'll likely be introduced to a new leading cast with the potential to name-drop Prometheus, Covenant or Alien characters. Fingers crossed it's Jonesy the cat. 

Dive deeper into the leadership at Weyland-Yutani...

Prometheus offered us fleeting glances at Guy Pearce's Peter Weyland and his relationships with his android offspring David and his daughter, Meredith Vickers played by a pre-flattened Charlize Theron. We learn only a little of Weyland's desire to confront his maker. For the most part, we're with the crew of the Prometheus. Like the majority of the movies in the franchise, the cast we grow to know and love are regular people.

But the show could include more of the leadership angle, the faces behind the decisions that directly impact the people sent to the frontline and how the megacorporation came to do what it does. Aliens includes a boardroom of unsympathetic suits with little interest in Ripley's story, and in Alien 3 we meet the reprehensible Michael Weyland.

This disparity between Weyland-Yutani workers and the Corporation leadership will likely be explored. “In [my show], you’re also going to see the people who are sending them [to space],” Hawley told Vanity Fair. “So you will see what happens when the inequality we’re struggling with now isn’t resolved. If we as a society can’t figure out how to prop each other up and spread the wealth, then what’s going to happen to us?"

Bearing in mind the series won't take place on spaceships in the far reaches of the universe, it sounds as if the leadership might be forced to confront the beasts they've desperately wished to weaponize for the entire franchise.


(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Take the action to a new location...

The notion of yet another Alien story throwing a crew into peril in the far reaches of space feels predictable, so why not relocate somewhere else? 

An Alien 3 teaser prematurely promised an Alien film on Earth, but it wasn't until Alien vs. Predator: Requiem butchered the concept that the idea fizzled out. Prometheus shows brief moments on Earth before the bulk of the movie relocates to the moon LV-223. The show should commit to a new setting as a way to freshen up the mythology.

According to Landgraf, the show plans to breathe new life into the idea: "Setting it on Earth is really interesting. We have to think forward about the future of the planet in terms of the environment, governance, technology and create and design a version of the planet in the future.” 


(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Expand the technology...

Prometheus dabbled with creation. Human creation at the hands of the Engineers and the Xenomorph's creation at the hands of Michael Fassbender's corrupt android, David. Both instances confront concepts of identity through technology. So what further steps might the Weyland-Yutani Corporation take? 

It's easy to assume nefarious schemes could be in the works. Alongside their weapons division whose pursuit of the creature fueled the entire cinematic franchise, their artificial intelligence division is another area

Hawley sounds like he's planning to include this, but in a different way than previously seen: "In the movies, we have this Weyland-Yutani Corporation, which is clearly also developing artificial intelligence—but what if there are other companies trying to look at immortality in a different way, with cyborg enhancements or transhuman downloads? Which of those technologies is going to win?"

Throw in that competitive element and the world of Alien expands considerably. Weyland-Yutani's rivals could force the series in a new direction, with the race to engineer a new technology and master eternal life almost certain to include some horrific scenarios.  


(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Give us more aliens...

The parting shot of Prometheus reveals the birth of a xenomorph ancestor, dubbed the deacon. Not exactly the same creature, it shares familiar traits with the iconic beast but we see it so briefly it left die-hard Alien fans desperate for more.

Ridley Scott deliberately chose not to include the xenomorph in Prometheus but immediately did an about face when audiences responded unfavorably. "We discovered from it that [the fans] were really frustrated," he said shortly before the release of Covenant. "They wanted to see more of the original [monster] and I thought he was definitely cooked. So I thought: ‘Wow, OK, I’m wrong’."

We know the TV series will include the alien – apparently it's the only recognisable character we can expect to see – but in what capacity? Each movie to date has pushed the creature design, added a new twist to the life cycle and mythology. In addition to the deacon, Prometheus also birthed the trilobite, the octopus-like squid which Shaw extracts from her body. 

With the Earth setting, an angle on Weyland-Yutani's leadership operations, a fresh take on technology, all signs point toward a new era for the franchise and fingers crossed? An even more terrifying iteration of the alien. 

Gem Seddon

Gem Seddon is a Seattle-based freelance entertainment writer with bylines at Vulture, Digital Spy, TechRadar, GamesRadar+, Total Film, What to Watch, and Certified Forgotten. Librarian by day, scribbler by night, Gem loves 90-minute movies, time travel romance, single-camera comedy shows, all things queer, all things horror, and queer horror. Alien and Scream are tied as her all-time favourite movie. She won't stop raving about Better Things.